If you are like most of our members, one of the main reasons you joined the Chamber is to network. Many of our events are developed for successful networking so you can grow your business, but networking is much different compared to traditional sales. Networking is about meeting people and developing your professional relationships.
Here are 10 tips to help you maximize your networking opportunities:
- Build a referral network. The most successful networker gets to know other members so they build a network of people to refer and be referred to. Remember that when you are developing those connections, you are looking to develop long-term relationships where you can share resources with one another.
- Be proactive in meeting people. Try this trick: as soon as you enter a room of people, start a conversation with the first person you see. Don’t hesitate; make an effort to meet someone new within the first 10 seconds of arrival. If there is a registration desk, use this opportunity to speak to the person beside you while you sign in or receive your name tag.
- Think win-win. Before you even go to a networking event, you should have the right attitude. A winning attitude is one with the mindset of “everyone wins if we help each other”. This requires listening to the people you meet and learning about what they need. At some point during your conversation, they may ask what you do. Then you will have that person’s listening ear.
- Develop a genuine interest in helping other members succeed. You want to show support for your fellow members. Listen to what they have to say and learn about what they do. Then ask open-ended questions that will expand your conversation with them.
- Be able to articulate what your needs are. You will have many opportunities to give your 30 seconds or one minute introduction. Keep in mind that you are not giving a sales pitch. One of the main purposes of networking is to help each other grow. When a person asks, help him or her to understand what you need for business growth.
- Find ways to be visible. Many of our most successful members get involved in activities. By doing important tasks in the community, you can get recognized and become better known.
- Smile. People want to be around happy people and will gravitate toward you if you are smiling. Follow up your smile with encouraging words of support for other members and positive information that can create conversation.
- Introduce people to each other. This is a great way to win all-around in networking because you are helping others network while becoming a powerful player who knows people.
- Reconnect with those you know. A networking event is a great opportunity to see people in your network. But keep in mind what your goal is. Give people you already know a quick smile of recognition, arrange to call later or meet up at another time, and then move on to new people you need to meet.
- Follow through after you connect. During the networking event, identify people who seem interested in your product or service. Then follow up in a reasonable time period by calling them to arrange a meeting. Even if you meet someone who may not be a potential client, let them know you want to stay connected. You never know who they know. Send them an invitation on LinkedIn or other way to keep in touch.
The Chamber is here to assist you in networking. We organize our networking events to help you meet new people and grow your business. Remember to check our events calendar often and use these tips to maximize your opportunities. To find out more about our events, contact your Chamber at 770.483.7049.